Sep. 30th, 1935
Gilmer, Texas, USA
5' 7 1/2"
Johnny Mathis' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles
He was the fourth of seven children born to Clement and Mildred Mathis. His father performed briefly in vaudeville and exposed all of the Mathis siblings to music. Before he entered his teens, young John received vocal lessons from Connie Cox in exchange for performing chores around her home. When he entered San Francisco State College he originally had planned to become a physical education instructor. At San Francisco State he broke classmate and basketball great Bill Russell (I)'s high jump record. While in college he began performing at a small local bar called The International Settlement, where he met performers Maya Angelou and Joan Weldon. Later performances at a club called The Blackhawk caught the attention of Columbia Records producer George Avakian. When Avakian called for Mathis to make his first recording, the young singer and then college track star had to make a unique decision: whether to record or to tryout for the 1956 Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia. He chose to make his first single "Wonderful, Wonderful". To date he has recorded over 100 albums with sales in excess of 180.0 million. More than 60 of his albums have been certified gold and/or platinum. "Johnny's Greatest Hits" (1958) remained on Billboard's pop album charts for 490 weeks. "Heavenly" remained on the pop charts for 295 weeks. An avid golfer and gourmet cook, Mathis continues to record and perform at the world's most prestigious venues and has earned a permanent place in American music history.
- Track and Field Tournament at San Francisco State University, the Johnny Mathis Invitational, is named in his honour.
- A shrewd financial investor, Mathis owns a Post Office in Wisconsin that he leases to the United States Postal Service.
- As of 2004, he has had the longest stay of any popular artist with Columbia Records to date, having recorded for them almost exclusively since 1956.
- Went to high school with 'Lee Meriwether' (qv).
- Referenced in the song 'The Call of the Wild (Merengue)' by 'David Byrne (I)' (qv) on his 1989 album, 'Rei Momo'.
- Early in his career, his then manager Helen Noga attempted to develop a feature film about the life of Black/Peruvian Indian saint Martin de Porres with Mathis portraying the Afro-Peruvian title role. This project, however, never reached fruition.
- Won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award on 23 February 2003.
- One of the most financially ingenious artists in the recording industry, Mathis has full responsibility and creative control of the production of his recordings through Jon Mat Records, Inc. where he chooses his own songs, producers, etc. while Columbia Records remains responsible for distribution.
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